Alternative to Buffer

Both Sociality.io and Buffer are great tools that improve your social media marketing efforts. Which one is best for you?

Every list of top tools for agile work environments suggests using social media management tools to manage your business profiles. Why exactly do you need this kind of solution and which one should you choose? You might be thinking: "Well, 80,000+ companies use Buffer. It should also be the right one for me, shouldn't it?" Buffer does make it easy for businesses and marketing teams to schedule posts, analyze performance, and manage all their accounts in one place.

But the market is overcrowded with powerful software just like Buffer, that claims to do the same things: manage social media more effectively and improve engagement. Does each tool really deliver on this claim? We know that it can be hard to see the difference between tools such as Sociality.io and Buffer, so we are here to help.

At Sociality.io, our goal is not to push our software to you. The aim of this article is to truly help you understand if:
1. You need a social media management tool
2. Buffer or Sociality.io better meets your needs

Before we compare the two, let’s review what a social media management platform is and what it should do for you.

What is a social media management tool?

Business social media profiles receive customers complaints and feedback and some of those messages require a quick response. Some people Tweet and talk about your product without mentioning you, but as they are your customers or potential buyers, you need a way to find these messages. A social media management tool helps you identify mentions of your brand on various social channels and lets you interact with people talking about your business.

A social media management tool helps you perform the following actions:

1. Schedule posts in advance. Posting manually at the right time each day is inconvenient and time-consuming.
2. Find your target audience on social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
3. Analyze performance. The more details you can get about your posts, followers, and engagement, the better.
4. Engage with followers. Respond directly to followers, comment on and like other posts from within the social media management tool’s dashboard.
5. Collaboration with teammates. When multiple people work on your social media strategy, you need an easy way to schedule, approve, and publish posts.

These five criteria are what you should look for in a social media management tool. We’ll use these five points to compare Buffer and Sociality.io.

Buffer Overview

Buffer’s product includes four main social media tools which you get varying levels of access to based on the subscription plan you choose:

  • Publishing
  • Analytics
  • Engagement
  • Start Page

Buffer has two pricing plans, plus an add-on option for teams.

Main Features: Buffer Free Plan

  • Always free
  • Add up to three social channels
  • Schedule up to 10 posts per channel
  • Access for one user
  • Available for Instagram business profiles, Facebook Pages and Groups, Twitter, LinkedIn profiles and pages, and Pinterest boards
  • Schedule posts and access them in Calendar View
  • Shorten links with buff.ly (bit.ly not included in free plan)
  • Tag other Facebook Pages and Twitter profiles in your posts
  • No access to Analytics
  • No access to Engagement
  • Use Start Page to create a landing page
  • Team Pack Add-on not available

Main Features: Buffer Essentials Plan

  • $5/month per channel
  • Add unlimited number of social channels at additional $5/month per channel
  • Schedule unlimited number of posts per channel
  • Access for one user
  • Available for Instagram business profiles, Facebook Pages and Groups, Twitter, LinkedIn profiles and pages, and Pinterest boards
  • All the same scheduling features as Free plan plus bit.ly and custom link shortener, custom video thumbnails, and Instagram Stories scheduling
  • Analytics, insights, and reporting tools
  • Exportable reports available with Team Pack Add-on
  • Access to engagement tools
  • Use Start Page to create a landing page with a Shop Grid
  • Purchase the Team Pack Add-on to unlock team management tools

Buffer puts a lot of tools at your disposal, but let's see how it stacks up against our five important social media management criteria.

1. Scheduling posts in advance

Buffer lets you schedule all your social media posts in advance to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. With the free plan, you get 10 posts per channel ✕ three channels, so 30 scheduled posts total at one time. With platforms like Twitter or Pinterest, where a “three posts per day” strategy is best, you won’t be able to schedule more than a few days in advance. On the Buffer Essentials plan, however, you get total freedom to schedule as many posts in advance as you want to each channel. So if you’re willing to pay, Buffer scores high marks for post scheduling.

2. Finding your target audience

Other than the audience demographics reports that Buffer provides, there’s no easy way to pinpoint your target audience across your social channels. You will, therefore, need a separate tool to search for your target audience.

3. Analyzing performance

Reports are available only with the Buffer Essentials plan. Buffer Analyze lets you see an overview of key metrics such as impressions, engagement, and new followers. You can also check out analytics for individual posts across multiple platforms. It also offers exportable reports, Instagram Stories analytics, and machine learning insights — so you get suggestions for what to post, when, and how often.

Buffer Analyze is a pretty powerful social media analytics tool, but it’s only available with the Essentials plan. To export reports, you have to upgrade even further to the Team Pack Add-on.

4. Engaging with followers

Previously, the Buffer Reply product was a powerful tool for customer service on social media, letting you respond to your messages from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, from one simple team inbox. However, Buffer sunsetted Reply as of June 1, 2020 and replaced it with integrated engagement features.

Now, Buffer users have an engagement dashboard that shows which posts have unanswered comments, can switch between multiple accounts, and can respond directly to customers on Instagram. The tool also highlights potential comments and posts that need attention via machine learning. Reply was a more powerful customer service solution, but the fact that the new engagement tools are fully integrated make them a bit more appealing.

5. Collaboration with teammates

For collaboration using Buffer, you have to pay extra for the Team Pack Add-on. You can invite additional users to your account, set draft posts for approval, and manage custom access and permissions with Buffer’s team management features, which make it a useful tool for collaboration. The fact that it’s not included in the Essentials plan, and that you only get one user with the Essentials plan, is less great, however.

The verdict

Overall, Buffer is a powerful platform to manage all your social media accounts. The company has simplified their previously complicated pricing plans, allowing for a fully integrated experience. You can publish, plan, respond to, and approve posts, as well as get insightful analytics on your socials. As with most sophisticated social media management tools, you can only access all these features with a paid plan and add-ons.

Your secret alternative to Buffer – Sociality.io

Sociality.io has a different approach. We have successfully built a reputation for transparency and accessible social media management tools. We are truly an all-in-one social media management platform, allowing you to manage everything from one simple dashboard.

The main differences between Sociality.io and Buffer

Pricing

Sociality.io has very easy-to-understand pricing strategies. All features are available in all plans, plus you can create a custom plan and choose the features you want:

Publishing posts

With Sociality.io, prepare and schedule a content plan in advance for all channels with added features like tracking approval and revision processes. Save time by working on the joint schedule with your team.

Publish directly to Instagram

Build an engaging Instagram presence and save time by posting an image or video directly from Sociality.io to your Instagram profile.

Social CRM

Never miss a single message from customers with Sociality.io. All customer interactions are summarized and displayed in one place.

Listen

Sociality.io allows crisis and reputation management in all languages, without any keyword limitations. Track what people say about you across all the web.

Reports

Preparing social media marketing reports used to take hours. Our daily, weekly, and monthly reports are prepared in minutes and are exportable for free. Let your stakeholders know about your performance.

Competitor Analysis

Our competitor analysis tools make researching your competition easier. Make intelligent content decisions based on detailed data.

Our pricing plans differ based on how many people work in your team, which integrations you would like to incorporate, and how big your social media following is.

We’re an honest company. So here’s a list of the disadvantages to Sociality.io in comparison to Buffer:

  • Sociality.io doesn't support link shortening. We can recommend you use free URL shortener Rebrandly or Bitly instead.
  • On Instagram, adding location can be a small trick to increase impressions rate. So, your posts will be more discoverable.
  • Sociality.io supports a smaller number of integrations, offering only Zapier, Intercom, and Slack.

Other than these limitations, Sociality.io provides impressive features that meet all of our criteria.

Tips for getting the most out of Sociality.io

Track competitor performance

Analyze not only your content performance but also how competitors are performing. It can be a good indicator as to why there is a drop in engagement rates. If others are facing declining performance, it could be related to a larger event, holiday, or particular season.

Understand reporting metrics

Sociality.io provides a great deal of data, but not all of it is important. For example, you would give less priority to the number of likes rather than the Impressions/ Reach rate.

Use listening to its full potential

The Listen feature is extremely powerful and can be your secret weapon for outperforming your competitors. For example, if you are a sustainable clothing brand for minimalists, and you want to connect with environmentally conscious people, you need to keep track of keywords like "Zero waste,” “minimalist,” or “save the planet" and Sociality.io Listen mode will display every user who talks about these subjects.

Wrapping up

We’ve provided all the details you need to choose a social media management platform that will work for you. Both Sociality.io and Buffer are great tools that will truly improve your social media marketing efforts and make you more productive. Not every platform works equally well for every company. The best one for you depends on your size and marketing tactics. Find the social media management tool that works for you.

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